Explosive ability with the skills to move the football down the field in a variety of ways. Those qualities are just a portion of what makes Darrian Felix special.
Tennessee doesn’t lack much from being completely full on recruits during the 2017 cycle. The running back from the Sunshine State is one prospect the Vols coaches would love to see in orange. Tennessee hosted Felix and family over the weekend.
“I really like Tennessee,” Felix said. “What makes them different is just the relationship I have with them. They call me every day — basically every day. I talk to them most of the time. Just tell me how, ‘Just keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t let anything stop you and keep going forward.’”
Tennessee coach Butch Jones, recruiting coordinator Robert Gillespie and tight ends coach Larry Scott are the primary contacts in Knoxville for Felix.
An Orange Carpet Day event back in the summer provided all parties to speak in person. The official visit allowed more time for the recruitment to get in-depth.
“This day was different because — I seen the game — it was more about me and family. That’s what they made me feel like, it was about me and my family. It made me feel like I was a priority. So, I really liked that a lot.
“We talked about it a little bit briefly. We were just saying how just family oriented, very strong. We liked it a lot. We really all liked it a lot.”
Tennessee freshman wide receiver Tyler Byrd is from the same region as Felix and was the player host for the trip.
“All of us (Florida natives) just come here (to Tennessee) and just love it,” Felix said.
The Scout three-star prospect and No. 45-rated running back in the 2017 class has an understanding of what’s most important as he chooses between his final schools.
“I’m looking for playing time and just the friendship and the relationship I have with the coaches and players,” said the speedster with a verified 40-yard dash time of 4.48 seconds.
The 5-foot-11, 187-pounder has a skillset vastly similar to a running back that Felix saw run for 128 yards on just 10 carries for the Volunteers on Saturday in a 13-point win over Kentucky in Neyland Stadium.
“They compared me to (Tennessee redshirt junior Alvin) Kamara — just how he’s so versatile out of the backfield,” Felix said. “He can catch, punt return, kick return. I think it’s a good comparison.”
The Fort Myers (Fla.) High School senior has a complete understand of the depth chart at Tennessee, including knowing that the Vols have verbal commitments from Ty Chandler and Trey Coleman in his class.
“I just look at it as coming and competing,” Felix said. “It’s the SEC, so every week you have to play your heart out.”
Felix listed North Carolina, Oregon and Tennessee as the three schools from which he’ll decide. Felix has not yet been to Chapel Hill but will “probably still make an official there.”
To choose from the three, Felix will “just my family, just see how they feel, see about transportation with them getting here and there.”
“When it really comes down to it, they all are in need of running backs. They’re all in need of running backs. So all the schools that I’m considering, they need a running back,” Felix said.
The runner took part in The Opening Finals in July in Beaverton, Oregon. Since then, Felix made another trip back to see what life is like with the Ducks.
“Oregon, I just like everything about it,” he said. “It’s Oregon. It’s just Oregon. I see playing time early and just the coaching staff loves me. I love them.”
No declaration is expected until his official visits are over. The three-star will not enroll in college in January. He will compete for the Fort Myers High track team, competing in the long jump.